CW: Why the need for anonymity? The main reason is that I know that not everyone likes my website and I do not want to risk being hurt because someone disagrees with me and decides I'm hanjian [a traitor]. Of course, if someone wants to find me, the government or a hacker, they'll be able to, but I do what I can to protect myself and my family.
CW: How did you decide on the name ChinaSMACK? My site is about China, so that part's easy to remember and SMACK is only a sound. Later, I learned that “smack” is also a nickname for drugs. If people think my website is a drug, maybe that is not a bad thing.
CW: What's been your favorite post? I liked our posts for the Sanlu milk powder incident and the Lin Jiaxiang post [about the government official who attacked an 11-year-old-girl] because I think we were one of the first English websites to translate so much information about both when they happened.
CW: What has been the most popular post so far? Definitely “China Does Not Have Any Men Suitable For Me” since it had the most comments. “Shanghai Orient Shopping Centre Kappa Girl” has the most traffic. The posts that usually have a lot of visits are ones with more shocking or sexy content. That's pretty normal.
CW: What kind of feedback have you gotten about the site? Most of the feedback has been good. I very rarely receive hateful feedback. That kind of feedback is useless to me. Most people appreciate that ChinaSMACK shows more interesting sides of Chinese people and the Chinese Internet. That means we are successfully doing what ChinaSMACK is meant to be about.
CW: You say on the blog that you want to avoid political issues, why? I think a lot of other English language blogs about China already talk a lot about the political issues. In general, we focus on the social things that most normal Chinese netizens are talking about.
CW: Aren't many social issues now political? Yes. However, translating news about how angry Chinese people are at the government because a bad official abused little girls is different from talking about Tibetan independence or democracy. Chinese people care more about the bad government officials.
CW: So do you think blogging has changed how we get news and information? I think blogging gives people more choices for information and helps some people make their voice louder. It lets people share more information with each other and spawn more conversations.
CW: Your blog is up for the Chinalyst China Blog Awards. Why do you think you deserve to win? We're such a new blog, I don't think we'll win, but I will be very happy if we do. The more important thing to me is just to share more about Chinese netizens with foreigners.
CW: Where can people vote? People can vote on www.chinalyst.com or ChinaSMACK until Dec. 31.
The problem with Chinasmack is that it portrays itself as a look at everyday Chinese people and the popular net stuff. Actually it portrays a certain group, just like any other site. I have plenty of local young friends who either don't know about the stuff you see there, or don't care about it.
It's just like if you made a Chinese language site about the USA net based on Youtube comments and the famous '4chan' boards. I know what LOL cats are, I know what rickrolling is and I've seen some Kimboslice fight videos but I wouldn't go there daily or think that it represents 'ordinary people'.
Perhaps someone should make that site, someone with good enough Chinese like Danwei or Pasden.
I don't see how Chinasmack portrays itself as a look at ordinary Chinese. The site bio even says the goal is to share a ”slice of Chinese life”.
I do notice often many users fall victim to an availability bias because they aren't familiar with Chinese society and China itself therefore when they read a post they tend to interpret the information as more representative of the China rather than an exception and thus is more likely to formulate a view different from societal norms.